Through the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), governments committed to achieving universal secondary school completion, including eliminating gender disparities, by 2030. The period from 1997 to 2014 saw considerable progress in closing gender gaps in school enrollment and attainment in many, but not all, low- and middle-income countries. However, as this research brief explains, claims that gender parity in primary education now exists are premature, especially in the poorest countries and new gender gaps, or gender-related challenges, may emerge as attainment increases. Moreover, the extremely low levels of secondary school enrollment—and even moreso completion—demonstrate that the SDG target of universal secondary school completion is likely more aspirational than realistic without dramatic increases in investments in education in these settings. The report concludes that improvements in the overall quality of education systems have proven even more elusive than improvements in attainment and gender parity, to the detriment of both boys and girls.
Psaki, Stephanie, Katharine McCarthy, and Barbara Mensch. 2017. "Measuring gender equality in education: Lessons from 43 countries," GIRL Center Research Brief no. 2. New York: Population Council.
Measuring Gender Equality in Education Globally